The Backwaters Press, 2016
In Firer's poems, place, often the western shore of Lake Michigan, provides an imagistic and sonic landscape in which language explores the 'empire of skin' with its daily happinesses and sorrows, gifts and losses. Often blue light illuminates these poems and frequently the language of a Catholic childhood shows up. Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams's poems say 'Use everything,' and Firer does: receipts, anatomy, astronomy, clothes poles, paintings, checklists, quagga mussels, questions and grapefruit. Birds fly through these poems, insights too: 'For a minute / we are disguised / as human.' That quote concisely sums up Firer's main attentions: transience and time and with what and how we fill our brief time here on earth.
About the Author
Susan Firer is the author of five previous books of poetry, including Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People: New and Selected Poems 1979-2007 and The Lives of the Saints and Everything. Her books have been awarded the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize, the Posner Award, and the Backwaters Prize. She has also been the recipient of a Milwaukee County Artist Fellowship, a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship, and the Lorine Niedecker Award. Her poem 'Call Me Pier' is included in the Poetry Foundation's Poetry Everywhere series. Her poems 'The Beautiful Pain of Too Much' and 'Call Me Pier' have been choreographed by Janet Lilly and performed at St. Mark's in the Bowery, New York City, and at the 2010 Milwaukee Lakefront Festival of the Arts. From 2008 to 2010, she was Poet Laureate of the City of Milwaukee. Firer was a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts fellow. She lives and writes within hearing distance of Lake Michigan.